Hello and Happy Friday from all of us in Japan!
Japan is truly the home of the “boom” — every year, it seems, something new appears out of nowhere and catches everyone’s interest. One year it’s bleeping electronic pets, the next it’s sneakers with 8 inch heels and horn-rimmed glasses worn by young girls. The latest craze in Akihabara, Tokyo’s electronics and video game mecca, are maid cafes, where you can go to be served coffee and cake by a beautiful girl dressed in a maid’s uniform. Having a quiet place where you can talk to a girl in a costume is supposed to be very healing, and this year, businesses that appeal to “otaku” customers are really doing well. The idea builds on the success of Anna Miller’s, the restaurant chain that employs women dressed in sexy waitress uniforms, making the Anna Miller’s waitress as famous an image in Japan as the Playboy Bunny in America. Mandarake, a chain of used bookstores in Tokyo and Osaka, also sells cosplay imagery to its customers, allowing those purchasing $10 or more to vote for their favorite costumed employee, who gets a cash bonus if they win the most votes.
Although Japan is a modern, safe country, and Japanese are usually kind and helpful to foreigners, there are some things you have to get used to if you’re going to ever live here. Seafood pizza, crowded trains, drunk men on those same crowded trains, bank cash machines that close at 7 pm, having a picture of a naked girl sandwiched between articles in a news magazine — they’re all part of life in Japan, for better or for worse. One minor frustration I always had was getting used to the habit of Japanese shops and restaurants closing on a set day of the week, their “teikyubi” or regular weekly holiday. Whether I go to the local department store or to my favorite ramen shop, chances are I’ll screw up and go there on the one day it’s closed, and have to make other plans. Japanese never make this mistake — they have some latent knowledge about which stores are closed on which days, and plan ahead.
What a year we’re all having. While hurricanes in Florida and rumblings under Mt. St. Helens in Washington have been grabbing headlines in the U.S., Japan has had it rough, too. In addition to the largest number of typhoons in recorded history — we’re currently being drenched by the 22nd storm of the season — the eruption of Mt. Asama and a big 5.8 magnitude earthquake centered near here have been giving Northern Kanto the jitters. Wherever you are in the world, please take an extra moment to think about safety for you and your loved ones.
In recent months, J-List has run some ads in magazines such as Starlog, Import Tuner (a magazine for Japanese car enthusiasts), and Newtype USA. If you’ve come to J-List by seeing one of our ads, please shoot us an email so we know that our ads are working for us. Thanks!